What Your Irvine Private SAT Tutor Should Be Able to Do

Standardized tests can play a very important role in your admission to your favorite college.  Because of this, many high school students and their parents choose to hire private tutors for tests like the SAT and ACT to help the student study and achieve the highest score that they can.

It is true that private tutoring is a very effective method of preparing for these types of exams.  An experienced tutor can evaluate a student’s strong and weak points, find the strategies and tactics that work best for each student, and keep them dedicated to a study plan that will lead to their best results.  You can’t get the same type of attention and experience by studying on your own or in a classroom setting.

However, these results depend on the fact that you have a good and experienced tutor.  There are many “tutors” out there for tests like the SAT who are not qualified to help you the most.  Many college students who recently took the exam themselves will claim that they can tutor for the test.  Parents might hire them when they claim their high test scores as their credentials.  “Hire me and your student can get a score like mine!”

Many teachers or students studying to become teachers will also tutor for these exams in their spare time, even when they aren’t experienced in the tests themselves.  “Hire me, I’ve been teaching for fifteen years and have the experience to help,” or “hire me, I teach calculus, so I can tutor for SAT math!”

While many of these tutors can be helpful, it is not the same as working with someone who knows the test and the best test preparation strategies inside-out.  Here is what a well-qualified and experienced SAT tutor should be able to do for you:

-Be able to consistently answer every test question correctly.  This does not mean that tutors need to be able to get perfect scores on the tests or that they can’t make mistakes, but if you have your questions or practice problems, the tutor should be good enough at the test to get the answers correct and explain them nearly every time.

-Be up to date on the format of the test.  If your private Irvine SAT tutor does not know how many sections there are, what the timing is, and how the test is scored, then they likely aren’t experienced enough in the test or their experience is with an older version of the test.

-Be able to provide study materials.  A good Irvine SAT tutor should be very familiar with all of the official practice tests and study materials and have them available for you to use.  They likely should also have extra materials in case you need more.  A tutor who expects you to have or buy new books or practice tests on day one (when the best practice tests are free), is a tutor who is not experienced in preparing for the test.

-Be able to evaluate you and give you your own, personal strategies.  Many tutors come with generic tips that either they use themselves, or that they’ve heard other people use.  Basic tips like “read the questions before the passage” or “star the ones that look hard and come back to them later” or “skip the word problems and do them last if you have time” are all fairly common and generic tips.  There are many others like them, and they do work for many students.  But not every student.  A good tutor should NOT be giving any of this advice until they’ve evaluated your skills and weaknesses (usually from a practice test).  Then, they can pick which ones will work best for you.

There are other factors that make someone a good SAT or another standardized test tutor, but these are some things you should be expecting when you’re paying someone to give private lessons to your student for a very important test.  You can get by and get good results with many other study methods, but if you want the most optimized approach, you will likely need a good private tutor.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

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